Gum recession is the process in which the margin of the gum tissue that protects the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth root. When gum recession occurs, “pockets”, or gaps form between the teeth and gumline, therefore, making it easy for disease causing bacteria to build up an destroy teeth. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged and may ultimately result in tooth loss and even severe health consequences. Gum recession is a common dental problem and most people do not know that they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity or you may notice teeth that look longer than normal. Typically, a notch can be felt near the gum line. Do not ignore gum recession! Early detection and treatment is essential to maintaining overall health and saving teeth. If you think that your gums are receding, make an appointment immediately for an evaluation of your individual case.
Periodontal disease. These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and the supporting bone that holds teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession and loss of teeth. Due to genetics, some people may be more susceptible to gum disease. In fact, studies show that 30% of the population maybe pre-disposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth.
Aggressive tooth brushing. Brushing teeth and gums too hard can cause gum recession.
Insufficient dental care. Inadequate brushing and flossing make it easy for plaque to turn into calculus (tartar) – a hard substance that builds on and between teeth. This type of plaque can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
Hormonal changes. Fluctuations in female hormone levels during a woman’s lifetime, such as in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.
Tobacco products. Tobacco users are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth that is difficult to remove and can cause gum recession.
Grinding and clenching teeth. Clenching or grinding teeth can put too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede. Clenching during sleep is a common cause of gum recession.
Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. When teeth do not come together evenly, excessive force can be placed on the gums and bone, allowing gums to recede.
Body piercing of the lip or tongue. Jewelry can rub the gums and cause irritation to the point that gum tissue is worn away.